My gap year so far

My gap year so far

How can it already be almost May?! Honestly, the time is flying by and I guess it’s because I’m having so much fun. After finishing my bachelors in July last year I decided it was time for something different. For the first time since I was four I wasn’t enrolled at any educational institution. It was a scary decision, but even though the year is not over yet I can already tell you that it’s been a great one. I wanted to write this blog post as a little recap of my gap year so far, what I’ve done and mostly what it has brought me.

So, my gap year started with moving back in with my parents. I got so many questions from people about how I was feeling about this that I might even though a separate post on this some time. But in short, I never really minded it, the only hard part was moving away from all my friends and basically being left with no social life. It was fine though as during my summer at home I was mostly working anyways. Trying to get a little buffer on my bank account before flying out to explore the world.

In September it was time to leave for Southeast Asia together with one of my best friends Merel. I think I can still call this the main trip of my gap year, not because it was better than the others, but just because it was the longest one and one of the main reasons why I took a gap year in the first place. It was great to tour around Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for 3,5 months, but there was something really important that I realised; I wouldn’t be happy traveling forever. After the 3rd month or so I really started to feel that I needed to stay somewhere for a little longer and build-up something. Maybe it would be different if I could make my job out of blogging and travel the world working on new content, because than I might feel like I’m working towards something, but for now 3,5 months was long enough.

We got back right before Christmas, which was really lovely, especially since I’d missed Christmas with my family the year before already. After all the holiday mayhem it was time to get back into some sort of normal routine at home, which honestly never really happened. However, even without a routine I did manage to be productive pretty much every single day and I got a lot of work done. I planned our entire China trip, which was way more time consuming than I’d expected and I built and launched this blog. I definitely got a little frustrated from time to time,  as there were times when I was trying to get something to work for basically the entire day and in the end I just had to draw the conclusion that it wasn’t possible. However, I loved that I just got to plan my own time and work on something I really enjoyed.

March was all about my trip to China with my mom. This was such a special trip, both because it was together with my mom and because China is probably the most interesting country I’ve ever visited. Really I could recommend anyone to visit China, because it’s super diverse and it really gave me a different perspective on so many things, such as politics, privacy and social norms and values. I realise more than ever now that even though some things seems so logical to us, it doesn’t mean that everybody in the world thinks the same way about it. Even though in some cases we might think; ‘how can you accept that and live like that?’, it might not even be an issue in another person’s mind. I hope that makes sense. Anyways, moral of the story is that I learned a lot and I have way more respect and understanding of this giant country with 1/5th of the world’s population.

Soon after my trip to China I embarked upon a another adventure in Portugal with Daniek. You might have read all about it in my last post, so I won’t go into detail here. However, there was something pretty cool that I realised that I haven’t talked about yet. When I was little we would usually go to France or Spain or some other country in Europe for 2 weeks or so during the summer holiday. I always loved it, but after the few weeks there I was always happy to be back in the Netherlands again. I always thought I’d never be able to live in a southern European country, but I think that has changed now. This time I was walking around Portugal with the feeling that I would actually love to live there. My mind has been set on wanting to live in California for so long, but at this point I honestly don’t have any idea where I’ll end up and that’s a great feeling if you ask me. All I know is that I want to live in a place where there’s a lot of sun (and maybe a beach nearby).

As you can see my gap year so far has already brought me a lot. The main reason why I took a gap year was to have the time to travel and see the world and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to travel so much this year already. I really feel like I’ve learned a lot about the world and myself, however cliche that might sound. I think I’m making different decisions now than I would have a year ago and I feel like I might have let go of some of the set plans I’ve had in my mind for years to make room for some new plans and dreams. Lastly, I also believe I’m more okay now with not knowing exactly what I want, which brings me to my plans for the rest of the year, because honestly I haven’t got a clue about them. For now I’m enjoying being home, I’m excited to finally really take the time to work through all my photos and videos from China and Portugal and to make more content for this blog. Also, unfortunately my bank account isn’t endless and I haven’t yet figured out a way to grow money in my garden, so the past few days and probably coming week or two I’m cleaning chalets at a holiday park and after that I might just go looking for a more long term job.

If I get accepted at the University of Amsterdam I’ll be back to studying in September, which means I still have four months of my gap year left. As of this moment I don’t have any long trips planned, but the world is at my feet and I definitely want to see more of it, so who knows where you’ll be able find me in a month or so… If you have any suggestions on what I should do or where I should go please let me know! I would also love to take a few sort trips to see some places in Europe I haven’t seen, if you’d like to tag along don’t hesitate to shoot me a message!

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